The Palaszczuk Government and Rio Tinto have signed a memorandum of understanding to capitalize on clean energy prospects and transform Central Queensland into an industrial and renewable energy powerhouse.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stated that encouraging investment in renewable energy and hydrogen was a key component of Queensland’s economic recovery strategy following COVID-19.
“This week we’ve announced the world’s largest hydrogen electrolyser manufacturing plant will be built in Central Queensland,” the Premier said.
“Today we’re signing a statement of cooperation with Rio Tinto to ensure Central Queensland can take advantage of our natural energy advantage and drive employment and economic outcomes from investment in renewable energy projects.
“By backing Queensland to become a renewable energy and hydrogen superpower we will create and sustain jobs long into the future.”
Steven Miles, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, said the government would collaborate with business to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.
“This will be a multi-signatory statement which will ensure that Central Queensland becomes one of the first regions in the world to benefit from the massive growth in demand for renewable energy,” Mr Miles said.
“We will ensure that in Central Queensland renewable energy is used to power the industries and material that the world will need over the years ahead.
“This will demonstrate Queensland’s capability and attract investors looking to use clean energy to create their futures and the jobs that come with it.
“Together with Rio and with the support of future partners, we will ensure that we can make a valuable product in Queensland and export it to a world hungry for clean manufacturing and sustainable materials.”
Rio Tinto, the statement’s first signatory, has committed to use their experience to assist Queensland in developing a future green economy.
Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive Ivan Vella said “Transitioning to a low carbon economy presents a real opportunity for industrial regions if stakeholders are willing to both think differently and collaborate.
“As Queensland’s largest energy user and a major Gladstone employer and manufacturer, Rio Tinto is uniquely positioned to work with the Queensland Government to deliver this vision.
“We have been in the region for more than 50 years and we share the State Government’s goals for decarbonisation, job creation and a vibrant industrial future for the region.
“We are working closely with the Queensland Government on the role we can play by underwriting long-term green offtake for our industrial assets. This should help create the industrial demand needed to develop a globally competitive green energy solution and lead to more processing and manufacturing in Central Queensland.”
Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Australia, Kellie Parker said “We are very excited about the opportunities ahead.
“We operate a unique, integrated aluminium business in Queensland, from bauxite mining through to finished metal production, and we know that, with a committed and coordinated approach to a new energy future, Queensland can thrive in a global low-carbon economy.”
Energy, Renewables, and Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni stated that the Queensland Government’s concentrated efforts and dedication to job creation, infrastructure development, and regional development resulted in this cooperation with industry.
“Renewable Energy, Hydrogen, and Manufacturing is at the core of our $3.34 Billion Queensland Jobs Fund, and this partnership will set Queensland up to be a global leader in these spaces,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Our ambitious targets to get to net zero emissions by 2050 is creating huge opportunities with more jobs in more industries right along the renewable energy supply chain.
“We have put the foundations in place to leverage our traditional strengths and build a state that will thrive in the global transformations ahead.” Minister for Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing, Minister for Water and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said this was only the beginning of a collaboration that will continue to grow.
“This is another huge vote of confidence in Gladstone’s competitiveness as a world-best location to grow industry and create more jobs,” Minister Butcher said.